Welcome to the State of California Department of Finance

Governmental Role of the Department of Finance

Mission Statement

  • Serve as the Governor's chief fiscal policy advisor.
  • Promote long-term economic sustainability and responsible resource allocation through the state's annual financial plan.

Commitments and Strategies

Leadership: Serve as the statewide leader for fiscal and budget policies.


  • Work collaboratively with other state departments and external stakeholders to meet the priorities of the Governor and the State of California.
  • Exercise a statewide leadership role throughout FI$Cal system development and implementation to promote its successful use as the state’s budgeting, accounting, cash management, and procurement system.
  • Align budget and policy initiatives with priorities of the state and long-term economic sustainability.

Workforce: Recruit, develop, and maintain a premier workforce, consistent with Finance’s fiscal and budget policy leadership role.


  • Employ experienced, flexible, and knowledgeable staff that can adjust to a dynamic environment, and continually provide relevant and practical training to staff.
  • Continuously develop and implement comprehensive succession and mentoring plans to prepare staff to fill key positions.
  • Enhance outreach activities, streamline and simplify the hiring process, and develop effective interviewing tools.

Accountability: Promote transparency and trust by developing efficient processes and systems that allow easy access to state data and information.


  • Continuously review business workflows and develop and/or upgrade systems, applications, and processes to achieve greater efficiencies within Finance and statewide.
  • Examine critical fiscal policies to identify and implement opportunities to improve accuracy, effectiveness, and transparency.
  • Leverage emerging technologies to make data and information easily accessible to policymakers and the public.

How We Fit Into State Government

State government is made up of three branches:

  1. Legislative
  2. Judicial
  3. Executive

The Department of Finance, located in Sacramento, is in the Executive Branch and part of the Governor's Administration.

The Department is One of Eight 'Control Agencies'

The Director of Finance is appointed by the Governor and serves as the chief fiscal policy advisor. The Director sits as a member of the Governor's cabinet and senior staff.

Principal functions are as follows:

  • Establish appropriate fiscal policies to carry out the state's programs.
  • Prepare, explain, and administer the state's annual financial plan (budget), which the Governor is required under the State Constitution to present by January 10 of each year.
  • Analyze legislation which has a fiscal impact.
  • Maintain the California State Accounting and Reporting System (CALSTARS).
  • Monitor / audit expenditures by state departments to ensure compliance with law, approved standards, and policies.
  • Develop economic forecasts and revenue estimates.
  • Develop population and enrollment estimates and projections.
  • Review expenditures for information technology activities of the departments.

Fiscal Process and Authority

The fiscal process is a dynamic one as new laws are enacted, new regulations are adopted, priorities change, available resources increase or decrease, and the Administration itself changes.

The Department of Finance impacts the fiscal activities of other state departments because of the general authority granted to the Department in Government Code Section 13070. This section provides the Department of Finance with authority over all financial and business policies of the state. There are numerous other code sections that direct the operations of the Department.

Boards and Commissions

The Director of Finance (or designee) sits on numerous boards and commissions which directly impact a broad array of state activities. Examples are:

  • State Allocation Board, which distributes funds for school construction.
  • Commission on State Mandates, which hears and decides local mandate claims against the state.
  • State Teachers' Retirement System, which invests the System's funds.
  • Public Works Board, which provides oversight of capital outlay projects.
  • Pooled Money Investment Board, which invests state funds.

The Department of Finance interacts with the Legislature through various reporting requirements. This includes presenting and defending the Governor's Budget and analyzing and testifying on legislation being heard before the Legislature.

The Department of Finance interacts with other state departments on a daily basis in terms of preparing, enacting, and administering the budget; reviewing fiscal proposals; analyzing legislation; establishing accounting systems; auditing department expenditures; and communicating the Governor's fiscal policy.